We’re on the countdown to Christmas 2021 and started to think how we could support local Oxfordshire Businesses this Christmas – there are no two ways about it: it’s been a weird couple of years. But if there can be any upsides to this global catastrophe is that it’s made us reevaluate. Take stock of what’s important. Think more carefully about how we treat our world and the people, flora and fauna in it.
Change our shopping habits, perhaps supporting local businesses.
And guess what? The data shows that we’re already making a shift, choosing to shop more locally. Data agency Kantar has found that 65 per cent of UK consumers believe local shops are important to the community they live in. Barclaycard research has also found that more than 9 out of 10 people want to continue to shop locally after the pandemic is over.
But why does it matter that we support local Oxfordshire businesses, independent businesses this Christmas, and what can we do to make the switch?
1. Small businesses are vital to the economy
Small, independent businesses are crucial to the economic recovery, following the devastation caused by the pandemic. They provide employment, goods and services to the local community, and do a better job of keeping money in the local economy.
Not only this, but they boost the national economy too. How many times in the last few years have we read about a new tax-evasion scheme used by one of the big faceless eCommerce giants?
Well, it’s probably no surprise to you that small businesses are far more likely to be doing as they should and paying their taxes. And as they chug on, paying their dues, paying their staff, the economy on the whole benefits.
2. Your gifts will be unique
When you’re buying a Christmas gift for that special person in your life, it can be tricky to find something unique and meaningful. Have you ever gifted someone the same thing twice? It does happen (I’ve heard)!
When you opt for an independent retailer, you’re far more likely to find something truly one-of-a-kind. Chances are you’ll find something beautiful, creative. Something that’s been crafted with love, care and expertise. And even more compelling: your gift will probably be of higher quality than something that’s been mass-produced in a factory.
At Neve’s Bees, for example, we handmake all our products here in Eynsham, West Oxfordshire. We make each batch fresh and our recipes are entirely our own.
3. You can be sure of the quality of the product
When gift-giving, you want to be sure that the gift is of a high standard. It’s not always possible to guarantee this when you buy from a website, especially if ingredients lists are too long to read, or product parts aren’t clearly listed.
On the flip side, when you buy from independents and support local Oxfordshire businesses , you’re much more able to ask about the product or, better still, they’ll freely explain to you exactly what goes into the product, and how. Just knowing the face of the company helps build trust that you’re actually getting what you pay for.
Here at Neve’s Bees, we tell you exactly what’s in our products. We don’t hide any weird chemicals, there are no nasties. Our products don’t even contain any water. Why? Because water is a breeding ground for bacteria, which means you’d have to add extra preservatives to the product to keep it bug-free. Preservatives that aren’t particularly kind to your skin, destroying all your skin’s “good” bacteria along with the water-breeding bad bugs.
Everything we put in our products is natural, meaning your skin will get that natural glow so many big brands promise!
4. It’s a much nicer shopping experience!
We’ve all been there. Mindlessly scrolling through Amazon, desperately hoping something will jump out at us as the perfect gift for she who has everything. So rarely is it ever a magical experience.
Think instead of the last time you sauntered through a Christmas market or mooched around a boutique, even perused an independent retailer’s webshop. A far more enriching affair.
You get to ask questions, find out more about the products and the story behind them, learn about the process by which your beautiful little gift came to being. Any independent retailer will be brimming with passion about their craft and will be happy to share that with you. And it’s infectious. There’s something uniquely HAPPY about shopping from a small independent business.
While we’re talking “happy”, why not check out our Bee Happy range of gifts:
5. Support local Oxfordshire businesses to support local causes
Small local businesses tend to benefit from community engagement and networks. Relationships that work both ways. Often they will be keen to “give back” to the community, to local projects, benefits and schemes, in a way that the big box companies tend not to.
At Neve’s Bees, we’re strongly supportive of our local environmental projects, particularly in recovering wildflower meadows, which are vital for the future of bees and the pollination of our crops. We donate 10% of our profits to The Wildlife Trust and other local nature recovery charities and also work with our local Eynsham Nature Recovery Group.
Not only this but we like to give all our customers a pack of pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds for you to plant in your own gardens. And try holding us back from sharing our hints and tips about how you can be a part of nature’s recovery!
Neve’s Bees is also part of Indie Oxford, a membership organisation that supports, promotes and connects small local businesses across Oxfordshire.
6. It’s more environmentally-friendly
Think about how many air miles are used when products are manufactured halfway across the world, shipped over to a UK warehouse, and transported across the country to arrive at your door. Or worse, that the component parts of the product across the globe to then be shipped back in the product.
Buying from and giving support local Oxfordshire businesses, you can be more sure of the provenance of the product and its ingredients. You can decide if they’re up to par, environmentally speaking.
At Neve’s Bees, we pride ourselves on our sustainable and ethically-sourced ingredients. Wherever possible we use locally-sourced traditional plant oils and butters, and even upcycle and reuse ingredients that are the by-products of other industries. Our fruit seed oils, for example, are the by-products of the jam and fruit juice industries.
All the way through to our packaging, which is 100% recyclable, we make sure our products are sustainable and eco-friendly, and that waste is kept to an absolute minimum.
Are you going to shop more locally this Christmas?
There’s no question that shopping locally at independent small businesses is a far more joyous experience than scrolling through your phone on a faceless corporation.
You get to explore the products, learn about how they were made, talk to the people who poured their passion and skill into creating them. You get the opportunity to learn, and to give back to support the local economy. And, at a time we’ve become all too aware of the climate crisis, by shopping smaller, more locally, more ethically, you’ll be making a choice that will make a positive impact on the environment.